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The Camera Assistant's Manual, 6th Edition

Book Description

Excel as an Assistant Cameraman (AC) in today’s evolving film industry with this updated classic. Learn what to do—and what NOT to do—during production and get the job done right the first time.

The Camera Assistant’s Manual, Sixth Edition covers the basics of cinematography and provides you with the multi-skill set needed to maintain and transport a camera, troubleshoot common problems on location, prepare for job interviews, and work with the latest film and video technologies. Illustrations, checklists, and tables accompany each chapter and highlight the daily workflow of an AC.

This new edition has been updated to include:

  • A fresh chapter on the entry level camera positions of Camera Trainee/Production Assistant
  • Coverage of emerging iPhone apps that are used by filmmakers and ACs on set
  • An updated companion website offering online tutorials, clips, and techniques that ACs can easily access while on location (www.cameraassistantmanual.com)
  • All new sample reports and forms including AC time cards, resumé templates, a digital camera report, and a non-prep disclaimer
  • Instruction and custom forms to help freelance filmmakers keep track of daily expenses for tax purposes

The Camera Assistant’s Manual, Sixth Edition is an AC's bible for success and a must-have for anyone looking to prosper in this highly technical and ever-changing profession.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Introduction
  9. 1 Basics of Cinematography
    1. Film Formats
      1. Single Perf or Double Perf
    2. Videotape and Digital Shooting
    3. Aspect Ratios
    4. Shots and Composition
    5. Film Stock
      1. Emulsion
      2. Base
      3. Anti-halation Backing
    6. Types of Film
      1. Negative Film
      2. Reversal Film
    7. Film Speed
    8. Sync Speed
    9. Exposure Time
    10. Exposure Meters
    11. Color Temperature and Color Balance
    12. The Camera
      1. Gate
        1. Intermittent Movement
          1. Pull Down Claw
          2. Registration Pin
          3. Aperture Plate
          4. Pressure Plate
      2. Shutter
        1. Shutter Angle
      3. Inching Knob
      4. Viewing System
        1. Diopter Adjustment
      5. The Lens
        1. Primes and Zooms
        2. F-stops and T-stops
      6. Magazines
      7. Motor
      8. Batteries
      9. Additional Camera Components
    13. Sync and MOS
    14. Filters
      1. Conversion Filters
        1. 85 Filter
        2. 80 A Filter
      2. Neutral Density Filters
      3. Polarizing Filters
      4. Combination Filters
      5. Optical Flat
      6. Diffusion Filters
      7. Fog and Double Fog Filters
      8. Low-Contrast Filters
      9. Soft-Contrast Filters
      10. Ultra-Contrast Filters
      11. Coral Filters
      12. Enhancing Filters
      13. Graduated Filters
      14. Diopters
      15. Filter Manufacturers
    15. Camera Mounts
      1. Tripods and Spreader
      2. High Hat/Low Hat
      3. Tripod Heads
        1. Fluid Head
        2. Gear Head
      4. Steadicam
      5. Dolly
  10. 2 The Camera Department
    1. Film Productions
      1. Director of Photography
        1. Preproduction
        2. Production
        3. Postproduction
      2. Camera Operator
        1. Preproduction
        2. Production
      3. First and Second Assistant Cameramen
      4. First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC or Focus Puller)
        1. Preproduction
        2. Production
        3. Postproduction
      5. Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC or Clapper/Loader)
        1. Preproduction
        2. Production
        3. Postproduction
      6. Film Loader
        1. Preproduction
        2. Production
    2. Digital Productions
      1. Digital Imaging Technician (DIT)
      2. Video Controller
      3. Camera Utility
      4. Digital Utility
      5. Digital Loader/Data Manager
  11. 3 Camera Trainee and Camera Production Assistant (PA)
    1. Preproduction
      1. Working with the Film Laboratory
        1. Obtaining Laboratory Supplies
      2. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
      3. Preparation of Camera Equipment
      4. Preparation of Camera Truck
    2. Production
      1. Start-of-the-Day Procedures
      2. Camera Reports
      3. Recording Shot Information
      4. Marking Actors
      5. Slates and Slating
      6. Changing Lenses, Filters, Magazines, and Accessories
      7. Using a Video Tap and Monitor
      8. Record Keeping and Filing of Paperwork
      9. Packing Equipment
      10. Tools and Accessories
      11. Camera Trainee and PA Tips
  12. 4 Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC) and Film Loader
    1. Preproduction
      1. Working with the Film Laboratory
        1. Obtaining Laboratory Supplies
      2. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
      3. Preparation of Camera Equipment
      4. Preparation of Camera Truck
      5. Preparation of Darkroom
    2. Production
      1. Start-of-the-Day Procedures
      2. Setting Up the Camera
      3. Organizing Equipment
      4. Film Stocks
        1. Film Stock Packaging Sizes
      5. Camera Reports
      6. Recording Shot Information
      7. Magazines
        1. Loading Magazines
        2. Unloading Magazines
      8. Using a Changing Bag or Changing Tent
      9. Marking Actors and Camera Positions
      10. Slates
      11. Slating Procedures
      12. Changing Lenses, Filters, and Magazines
      13. Using a Video Tap and Monitor
      14. Preparing Exposed Film for Delivery to the Lab
      15. Shipping Film (Exposed and Unexposed)
      16. Film, X-Rays, and Carrying Film on Planes
      17. Ordering Additional Film Stock
      18. Using Short Ends and Recans
      19. Storage and Care of Motion Picture Film
        1. Unexposed Film
        2. Exposed Film
      20. Film Inventory and Record of Film Shot
      21. Completing Film Inventory Forms
      22. Distribution of Reports
      23. Record Keeping and Filing of Paperwork
      24. Performing the Duties of First Assistant Cameraman
      25. Packing Equipment
      26. Tools and Accessories
      27. 2nd AC/Loader Tips
      28. Resources
    3. Postproduction
      1. Wrapping Equipment
    4. Working in Digital Video
      1. Preproduction
      2. Production
        1. Setting Up the Camera
        2. Camera Reports
        3. Magazines
        4. Marking Actors
        5. Slates and Slating Procedures
        6. Moving the Camera and Setting Up the Video Monitor
        7. Preparing Media Cards and Hard Drives
        8. Ordering Additional Media Cards
        9. Storage and Care of Media Cards
        10. Videotapes, X-Rays, and Magnetic Fields
        11. Tools and Accessories
      3. Postproduction
        1. Wrapping Equipment
    5. Review Checklist for Second Assistant Cameraman (2nd AC or Clapper/Loader)
      1. Preproduction
      2. Production
      3. Postproduction
    6. Review Checklist for Film Loader (Loader)
      1. Preproduction
      2. Production
  13. 5 First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC)
    1. Preproduction
      1. Choosing Camera Equipment
      2. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
      3. Preparation of Camera Equipment
        1. The Rental House
        2. Camera Prep Checklist
    2. Production
      1. Start-of-the-Day Procedures
      2. Loading and Unloading Film in the Camera
      3. Keeping the Camera Clean
      4. Oiling and Lubricating the Camera
      5. Setting the Viewfinder Eyepiece
      6. Lenses
        1. Prime Lenses and Zoom Lenses
      7. Checking for Lens Flares
      8. Depth of Field
      9. F-stops and T-stops
      10. Changing Lenses, Filters, and Accessories
      11. Focus Measurements and Following Focus
        1. Getting Your Marks
        2. Focusing Tips
      12. Zoom Lens Moves
      13. Shooting the Shot
      14. Footage Readings
      15. Checking the Gate
      16. Moving the Camera
      17. Performing the Duties of Second Assistant Cameraman
      18. End-of-the-Day Procedures
        1. Packing Equipment
        2. The Walkaway
      19. Tools and Accessories
      20. Using Computers and Technology
      21. 1st AC/Focus Puller Tips
      22. Resources
    3. Postproduction
      1. Wrapping Equipment
    4. Working in Digital Video
      1. Preproduction
        1. Choosing and Ordering Expendables
        2. The Rental House and Preparation of Camera Equipment
      2. Production
        1. Setting Up the Camera
        2. Loading and Unloading Media Cards into the Digital Camera
        3. Swapping Hard Drives
        4. Lenses (Primes and Zooms)
        5. Checking for Lens Flares
        6. Focusing and Depth of Field
        7. Moving the Camera
        8. White Balancing
        9. Tools and Accessories
      3. Postproduction
        1. Wrapping Equipment
    5. Review Checklist for First Assistant Cameraman (1st AC or Focus Puller)
      1. Preproduction
      2. Production
      3. Postproduction
  14. 6 Problems and Troubleshooting
    1. Camera Problems
      1. Camera Will Not Run
      2. Camera Does Not Stop When Switched to “Off”
      3. Camera Starts and Stops Intermittently
      4. Camera Stops While Filming
      5. Camera Is Noisy
      6. Shutter Does Not Spin (No Flicker Seen through the Viewfinder)
      7. Unable to Thread Film into the Gate Area
      8. Camera Door Does Not Close
      9. Film Jams in Camera
      10. Film Rips or Has Torn Perforations
      11. Film Loses Loop
      12. Camera Does Not Run at Sync Speed
      13. Viewing System Is Blacked Out
      14. A Fuse Blows When Connecting Electrical Accessories
      15. When Shooting a Television Monitor or Computer Screen, a Roll Bar Moves through the Screen
    2. Magazine Problems
      1. Film Cones When Removing from Magazine
      2. Film Does Not Take Up
      3. Magazine Is Noisy
      4. There Are Scratches on the Film
    3. Lens-Related Problems
      1. Lens Will Not Focus
      2. Image Is Fogged When Looking through Viewfinder
      3. Zoom Lens Motor Runs Erratically
      4. Zoom Lens Does Not Zoom throughout Its Entire Range of Focal Lengths
      5. Lens Flares Are Seen When Looking through the Viewfinder
      6. Unable to Adjust F-stop/T-stop
    4. Battery Problems
      1. Battery Loses Power
      2. Battery Will Not Hold Charge
    5. Video Assist Problems
      1. Image on Video Monitor Is Out of Focus or Is Tilted to the Side
      2. There Is No Image on Video Monitor
    6. Tripod and Head Problems
      1. Tripod Head Does Not Pan or Tilt
      2. Tripod Legs Do Not Slide Up or Down
    7. Weather and Environmental-Related Problems
      1. Shooting in Extreme Cold Weather
      2. Shooting in Extreme Heat
      3. Filming in or Around Salt Water and Camera and Magazine Fall into the Water
    8. Color Balance/Filter Problems
      1. Filters Don’t Fit in Matte Box
      2. Shooting Outside Using Tungsten-Balanced Film Without an 85 Filter
      3. Shooting Inside with Tungsten Light Using Daylight-Balanced Film Without an 80A Filter
    9. Developed Image Problems
      1. Projected Image Is Shaky or Unsteady
      2. Projected Image Is Out of Focus
      3. Projected Image Contains Spots or Lines
      4. Image Is Not Aligned During the Video Transfer
    10. Shooting in Foreign Countries
      1. Shooting in Countries Using a Different Electrical System
    11. Troubleshooting Tips
  15. 7 Film Cameras
    1. Aaton A-Minima
    2. Aaton Xterà and XTR-Prod
    3. Aaton 35-III
    4. Aaton Penelope
    5. Arriflex 16 SR1, 16 SR2, and 16 SR3
    6. Arriflex 416
    7. Arriflex Arricam Lite (LT)
    8. Arriflex Arricam Studio (ST)
    9. Arriflex 235
    10. Arriflex 535A and 535B
    11. Arriflex 435
    12. Arriflex 35BL3 and 35BL4
    13. Arriflex 35-3
    14. Arriflex 765
    15. Moviecam Compact and Moviecam Super America
    16. Moviecam SL
    17. Panavision Panaflex 16
    18. Panavision Panaflex Gold and GII
    19. Panavision Panaflex Millennium and Millennium XL
    20. Panavision Panaflex Platinum
    21. Panavision Panastar II
    22. Panavision Panaflex 65
    23. Panavision 65 mm High Speed
    24. Panavision 65 mm Handheld
    25. Photo-Sonics Actionmaster 500
    26. Photo-Sonics 1VN
    27. Photo-Sonics 35-4B/4C
    28. Photo-Sonics 35-4E/ER
    29. Photo-Sonics 35-4ML
  16. 8 Before, During, and After the Job
    1. Union or Non-Union
      1. IATSE and Local 600
      2. Joining the Union
    2. Before the Job
      1. The Résumé and Business Cards
      2. Email and Web Sites
      3. The Job Interview
        1. The Deal Memo
    3. During the Job
      1. On-Set Etiquette
    4. After the Job
      1. Invoicing and Time Cards
      2. The Next Job
      3. Networking
      4. The Freelance Filmmaker and Taxes
  17. Appendix A Film Stock
  18. Appendix B Equipment, Software, and Apps
  19. Appendix C Camera Department Checklists, Production Forms, and Labels
  20. Appendix D Tools, Accessories, and Expendables
  21. Appendix E Tables and Formulas
  22. Recommended Reading
  23. Glossary
  24. Index